An introduction to the spice box

If you go to any Indian persons house they will have a spice tin just like this one. I thought since I will be posting quite a few Indian recipes along the way, it would be handy to familiarise those who are unsure about what spices are the basis to my recipes.

In this tin we have:

  • Coriander/cumin powder (a mix) (the one closest)
  • Garam masala (the one furthest away)
  • Red chilli powder (red powder)
  • Mustard seeds (can’t really see the black seeds but they are at about 1 o’clock in the spice tin)
  • Tumeric (yellow powder)
  • Dried whole chillies (middle)
  • Cumin seeds (in the bag)
  • Thymol seeds (out of view)
  • Fenugreek seeds (in the middle under the dried chili’s)

Out of the tin we also have a few more staple spices and herbs such as:

  • Fresh coriander
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cardamon
  • Fresh chili’s, garlic and ginger (which we often pre-grind together in bulk to use in all of our recipes. This is somewhat frowned upon but for a working family it saves time and makes things a little more convenient.)
  • Fresh curry leaves
  • Fresh bay leaves

It’s important to know that:

  • Mustard seeds are used in the majority of vegetarian dishes and never in meat, fish and poultry dishes.
  • When making meat, poultry or fish dishes you usually use cinnamon, cardamon and cloves (sometimes not all).
  • Ground coriander and cumin and tumeric goes in EVERYTHING!
  • Fresh coriander is chopped and added in to EVERY dish!
  • Only use minimum amounts of garam masala. If you use too much it makes the back of your throat prickly/burn. So if you are experimenting with Indian food and recipes stick to fresh chili’s for the main source of heat.
  • If you want to make your own fresh spice mix like I do you will need to grind up 2 parts chili, 1 part garlic and ginger (in terms of ratio). Once ground put it into a container and mix in a tiny bit of tumeric and add a little bit of oil to help preserve. Just keep it in the fridge and use when needed. 

If you would like to purchase one of these tins to keep your spices in they are available in Indian stores or online. (Sorry if this post seems a bit rushed, it’s a quick one. however if you would like to ask any questions comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible!)

Monica x

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